Published: September 2012 in Arc 1.3: Afterparty Overdrive
Genre: science fiction
Length: 30 pages
Setting: a futuristic city
Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology
Summary: Grids and College have pretty much given up going to school – what’s the point? At least they can get influence points in the Smash and Grab games they run. They’ve got a new target for a raid – the latest pro-gamer sneakers. While they won’t be on the market for another ten days, it seems a local store has some in their stockroom. So, they organize a big Smash and Grab with their gang and some other local kids, with the promise that everyone will get a pair of the sneakers at the end, as well as all the points for the Smash and Grab. They loot the store, although there’s a QR code that leads to a feed that seems to show kids making these sneakers in terrible conditions. Grids decides to burn all the shoes as a publicity stunt (although not before he snags a pair for himself), which ranks him high in significance worldwide and makes him a bit of a local pariah.
Final thoughts: This one was a bit tough to get into. There’s a lot of lingo that the street-wise, gamer kids use, which sets up the world and their culture well, but decreases understanding at first. Maughan also likes to use little blurbs like tweets within the story to show how the local events are being seen in the larger society. I’m still not sure how the Smash and Grab games would work – a gang gets together, sets up a server, and then essentially loots some store for points and advertising. Weird. Ultimately, the story is about feeling significant when you have no hopes of improving your lot in life, with a little bit of the evils of large corporations thrown in for good measure.
Title comes from: The sneakers are limited edition, highly collectible, gamer-tie in shoes
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